In Sanskrit, the word yoga means the union of the universal soul with the individual spirit. For me it is an essential part of my spiritual practice and balances my physical and mental well being. And so it helps to have discovered the most amazing Yoga teacher.
Her name is Lynda and her studio is on my list of top ten indoor spaces in Australia. Yes I have several of these lists: top ten built spaces; top ten gardens; top ten parks; top ten bookshops etc. Making lists is a great way to while away some time at the bus stop, or while waiting for the rain to stop, or the muse to return.
Every Tuesday evening I walk down the hill to Lynda’s yoga studio which overlooks the park. The class is a series of postures, breathing and meditation. And if you’re not in a hurry, she’ll crack your back, and give you a good twist at the end. Usually she’ll also have an interesting tea, which has brewed during the class; she pours it for us from her gorgeous Chinese pot into tiny tea cups. There might be liquorice, mandarin or cherry infusions; cinnamon, ginger or peppermint concoctions; or a spicy chai. Each week is a surprise. It’s like no other yoga class I’ve ever been to; such beautiful hospitality is truly the sign of a generous soul. We stand around drinking our tea, and chatting in the semi-darkness, and it is conviviality itself.
And as I walk home, detouring via the beach, to look at the yachts swaying in the bay, their masts playing like percussion instruments, I am energised once more. Lynda has worked her weekly miracle.
Well the other night, it was as usual, a restorative and stimulating yoga session. But at the end, there was no tea. So I prepared to head out into the cold and dark, chin up, and grateful that there had ever been any tea. After all, it’s not like I don’t have my own tea at home.
And then I heard Lynda say, “Tonight I’ve made soup for you all.”
I couldn’t believe what I’d heard, but the nose doesn’t lie. A sweet, tantalizing aroma was wafting through the room. Into little white cups, Lynda ladled her own-made sweet potato and coriander soup. And it didn’t stop there. The next week she treated us to curried capsicum soup. And this week, to the most beautiful Borscht; beetroot, potato, onion, parsley and sour cream. And the secret ingredient – vodka! Apparently, it’s the trick to getting just the right smoothness.
Now I don’t just say this because my inner child loves to get such treats, Lynda is not just a great yoga teacher, she is an inspiration; a role model for how to live.
And so tonight, in the spirit of reciprocity, I decided to make soup for a friend who is not well. A spiced Moroccan soup, the recipe is below. Perhaps there is someone you know that could do with some soup too.
It’s also made me think I should try my hand in a soup kitchen; not making it, just serving it! There are plenty of people who could do with a soul sustaining soup on these cold winter nights, who aren’t lucky enough to have Lynda as a yoga teacher, or a home to go back to.
Spiced Moroccan Soup
Fry chopped onion and garlic in your soup pot, with ground cumin and coriander.
Grind it from the seeds with a mortar and pestle.
The smell is divine.
Add one cubed sweet potato and two chopped carrots.
Stir for five minutes, then add six cups of chicken stock.
Simmer for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally, then add a can of drained chickpeas.
Simmer for another ten minutes.
Take of the heat and blend in the pot with a potato masher.
Serve with yummy bread.